Harry Fry: Our fresh horse could go well on day one at Aintree
In his preview of day one of the Grand National Festival, the leading National Hunt trainer discusses the Betway Aintree Hurdle and the Foxhunters' Chase.
The bad weather has continued so we are having to be very patient with some of our horses.
We have been waiting to get Art Of Payroll out again and are now looking at the Silver Trophy at Cheltenham next week for him.
We were hoping to run Golden Birthday at Aintree on Friday but he won’t run now on account of the ground and will likely go on the Flat at Newbury next week instead.
It’s hard enough trying to find races to run four-year-old bumper horses in, let alone a two-year-old on the turf.
I’d imagine that some of the Flat trainers are tearing their hair out over the current conditions.
Two for Thursday at Aintree
Aintree’s a different crowd to what you get at Cheltenham, with everyone there a little bit more relaxed and out to have a good time.
It feels like there’s a lot less pressure, despite the top-class racing, and there’s sure to be a good buzz on all three days.
The Grand National is of course a huge race, which unfortunately we haven’t had a runner in yet, but American gave us our first run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year, so onwards and upwards.
Air Horse One is around a chance for the Betway Aintree Hurdle (15.25) which takes the pressure off a bit.
I know we’ve set him a fairly stiff ask here in Grade One company. On ratings there are four that are going to be difficult to beat, but three of those had hard races at Cheltenham.
This is a valuable contest and we’ve got a fresh horse so we decided to go down this route and try to pick up some good prize money.
He’s been lumping a lot of weight around in handicap company all season and we thought we’d take our chance in a race like this instead.
The New One is a class horse and looks the one to beat if he runs up to his best.
Overtown Express (16.40) has been paying the price for running so well at the start of the season at Newbury.
The softer the ground the better for him and we’re almost guaranteed a strongly run race at this level, which will play into his hands
He looks to have an each-way chance. If he ran into a place we’d be delighted.
Thoughts on the opening day’s other races
On his Arkle form, Brain Power would be the one they all have to beat but you never know how much Cheltenham might have taken out of them.
Cyrname is a fresh horse and he might go well having won at Kempton last time. I’d have him above Finian’s Oscar who didn’t seem to finish his race at Cheltenham.
Again, it’s hard to know how much Cheltenham would have taken out of Apple’s Shakira .
More often than not they tend to run a bit worse after Cheltenham. The Festival certainly leaves its mark, particularly with the younger horses.
I’d be looking for a bit of value with something that’s been kept back and is fresh. Nicky Henderson's We Have A Dream looks a good bet.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup was a very tough race for Might Bite , though Nicky Henderson obviously wouldn’t be running him if he didn’t feel he was fit and well.
Clearly he’s been showing all the right signs at home and is the one they all have to beat.
Of the others, there’s a couple that ran behind him in the Gold Cup in Definitly Red and Tea For Two .
Bristol De Mai looked imperious at the start of the season, though things haven’t quite gone to plan since.
He’s been kept fresh and it may just depend on whether you’ve had your fingers burnt with him in the past as to whether you want to follow him again or not.
Having Guy Disney ride in the Foxhunters is an extraordinary story. but I know that he doesn’t want to be singled out as different to any other jockey. I totally understand that and wish him all the best.
It’s always an exciting race with some of the amateurs having their first go over the fences up against some more experienced riders.
The winner really could come from anywhere in this sort of race. There was a 16/1 winner last year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bigger priced horse win again.
Obviously the market speaks in favour of Getaway Katie Mai , but this is always a competitive race.
Anthony Honeyball, whose yard is next door, has got Duhallow Gesture in there. She won a good Listed prize last year and Anthony has been targeting this for a while.
I wouldn’t get too carried away with the market leader, even though she’s probably a very good mare.
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